Rhubarb, orange and ginger free-form tart

by Ed Smith

A sweet and sour winter tart from The Borough Market Cookbook

Bright, forced pink rhubarb is a highlight of winter—the stems really stand out in a greengrocer’s display—while citrus fruits, including oranges, are also at their striking peak right now. This free-form tart brings the two together and uses ground and stem ginger to tie and mellow the sour and the sweet fruits. Serve with ice cream, double cream, custard, or all three.


For the pastry:
250g spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
130g cold salted butter, cubed
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
70g icing sugar
½ tsp flaky sea salt
Grated zest of 1 orange
2-4 tbsp cold milk

For the filling:
500g forced rhubarb, cut into 3-4cm batons
2 pieces of stem ginger, cut into thin matchsticks, plus 3 tbsp syrup from the jar
Flesh of 1 orange, cut into 2-3cm chunks
50g golden caster sugar
50g ground almonds
Ice cream, double cream or custard, to serve


To make the pastry, combine the flour, butter, ground ginger, icing sugar and salt until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs—you can do this with your fingertips or in a food processor with the pulse setting. Add the orange zest and 2 tbsp cold milk and press together to form a ball of dough. Use an extra 1-2 tbsp milk if necessary. Push the pastry into a disc 2-3cm thick, wrap completely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, ideally more.

When the pastry has been in the fridge for 1 hour, put the rhubarb batons, stem ginger (not the syrup) and orange into a bowl, scraping any juice from the orange on top. Add the caster sugar, mix and leave to macerate for 10 mins or so.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper, using a smudge of butter to secure it in place.

Unwrap the pastry and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a rough 2-3mm-thick circle. Trim the rough edges with a knife, then lift the pastry onto the lined baking sheet by rolling it onto a floured rolling pin and flopping it flat onto the sheet. Spoon the ground almonds into a circle in the middle of the pastry, leaving a 4-5cm border between the almonds and the edge of the pastry.

Arrange the fruit on top of the almonds (but none of the residual liquid), then create sides for the tart by turning the pastry up, towards and a little over the fruit in 6 or 7 moves. Bake the tart towards the top of the oven for 50 mins, until the pastry is golden and firm, and the rhubarb pink and soft.

While the tart is baking, mix the stem ginger syrup with any residual macerating juices. Remove the tart from the oven and brush the syrup over the pastry and the fruit to give it a pleasingly sweet and spicy sheen before slicing and serving with ice cream, double cream or custard.

Recipe: Ed Smith from The Borough Market Cookbook (Hodder & Stoughton, £25)
Image: Issy Croker